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Officer shortage in Cleveland’s 4th police district raises concern

April 7, 2018 GMT

Officer shortage in Cleveland’s 4th police district raises concern

CLEVELAND, Ohio - Cleveland’s 4th District needs more officers to assist with the amount of calls its receiving daily, the rank-and-file police union president says.

The city swore in 42 police officers last month to work in the districts, but it’s still not enough to make a dent in the the heavy workload officers are facing in the the district, Cleveland Police Patrolman’s Union President Jeff Follmer said in a story first reported by WKYC-TV.

“This has been going on probably since last year,” he said. “They’re all tired and burned out from working 15 to 16 hour days.”

This is not to say that all the districts aren’t busy, Follmer said, but the 4th District is one of the busiest due to its high crime rate.

It will need to take another 25 to 40 officers to make sure the 4th District is properly covered and protected, he said. The number of officers in each district varies depending on calls for service. Follmer could not immediately provide the number of officers that work in the 4th District.

“You feel for the officers because they are people too, they have lives outside of their job,” Follmer said. “It affects citizens too. You’re getting lack of service or very tired officers who are working 60 to 80 hours a week.”

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Follmer is looking to talk to the city to find a solution to the problem and see what happens from there. 

City spokesman Dan Williams couldn’t comment in reference to there being a shortage in the 4th District but did say the city plans to hire 250 police officers to build its force in the districts. The city has four police academy classes scheduled this year, with one already completed, he said.

The city also is doubling down on recruiting efforts for police, firefighters and paramedics, Williams said.

There are just under 1,500 police officers in the department. The goal is to get to 1,600, he said.

Councilman Blaine Griffin said he has also reached out to command staff and deputy chiefs regarding the shortage.

“They’re allowing off-duty police officers from other districts to come over to the 4th District and fill those shifts,” he said. “It’s a concern.”

Griffin is a member on council’s safety committee and will address these issues at Wednesday’s meeting.

“We’re definitely going to be probing for answers over the next few days,” he said. “Anytime in this district we see a shortage of officers, we’re definitely going to be diligent and push to get more.”

If you’d like to comment on this story, visit Saturday’s crime and courts comments section.

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